How to make your home energy efficient

Increasing the energy efficiency of your home is good for the environment and could save you hundreds of euro on your gas and electricity bills. Here are some of the best ways to save energy at home.

Ways to increase energy efficiency at home

As well as quick energy-saving tips like closing curtains at night and switching to low energy lightbulbs, there are bigger changes you can make that will significantly improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The upgrades with the biggest energy saving potential can require an upfront cost, but you should make the money back over the coming years through savings on your gas and electricity bills.

You may also be eligible for a grant for some of the changes, check out the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website for more information and how to apply.

It’s a good idea to check your home’s Building Energy Rating (BER) to understand its current efficiency level and how to improve it.

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1. Insulate your home

According to the SEAI, on average, a home loses 20 to 30% of its heat through its walls and up to 30% through a poorly insulated attic.

Insulation can have a big impact on reducing heat loss and helping you to save money on your energy bills, here are some of the different types:

  • Attic insulation: which insulates the roof of your house at a ceiling level. This is quite a cost-effective way to insulate and should cause minimal disruption.
  • Cavity wall insulation: which is suitable where your home’s walls consist of two rows of bricks or concrete blocks with a cavity or space between them. The insulation is injected into the wall from the outside.
  • Internal wall insulation: also known as dry lining, is suitable if you have solid walls or other walls that aren’t suitable for cavity insulation. Insulation boards are applied to the inside of any external walls.
  • External wall insulation: is where insulation is attached to the outer surface of the walls of the house, wrapping the house or apartment entirely.

Insulation can be expensive, but you can receive grants starting from €400 up to €6,000, depending on the type of insulation and what size home you live in.

2. Check your boiler is running efficiently

You should get your boiler serviced and checked on a regular basis by a Registered Gas Installer (RGI). Not only will this ensure your boiler is running safely, it will check if it’s running efficiently.

A boiler care plan could help to spread the cost of servicing and repairs if your boiler breaks down. Our guide: How do boiler servicing plans work? explains more about what’s usually included and how to choose the right cover.

Older boilers are less energy efficient than modern ones, so paying out for repairs may not be worth it. Here are the pros and cons of paying for repairs vs replacing your boiler.

3. Check your windows

Depending on the type of windows you have, you could be losing heat due to draughts or inefficiency. Here are some of the signs:

  • Look for damage to the sealant around the window e.g. cracks
  • Check for draughts by lighting a match and holding it close to the frame
  • Look for moisture or mould between the window frame and the wall, this is a sign that heat’s escaping

If you do spot an issue with your window sealant, repairs are relatively cheap and should result in improved efficiency.

If you have single-glazed windows and timber frames, it’s possible your whole windows will need replacing in order for you to see a big difference.

This can be costly, so it’s worth contacting a number of suppliers to get quotes before going ahead with the work.

4. Change up your old appliances

All appliances sold in the EU have an energy rating from A+++ to G which can be found on the label. The A+++ rating is the most energy efficient and G is the least efficient.

Appliances with a lower rating cost much more to run than those with a high rating. So, if you have a lot of white goods e.g. washing machine, fridge/freezer, or oven with a low rating, it might be worth replacing them with more efficient models sooner rather than later, in order to save.

5. Install solar panels

Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules are solar panels that generate electricity when exposed to light. You can get these installed on the roof of your home and use the power generated to supply energy to your home.

According to Electric Ireland, installing PV panels can generate clean, green renewable energy from daylight, and any excess can be automatically used to heat your water. So not only will you save on your energy bills, you’ll also be doing your bit for the environment, too.

There are a number of Solar PV installers in Ireland, so it’s worth shopping around to make sure you get the best possible price.

If you need to spread the cost, Electric Ireland offers a 36-month payment option.

6. Install a heat pump

Electrical heat pumps use a compressor to draw heat from external air or the ground to heat the home, and a heat pump typically will produce three to four units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed.

Most heat pump systems have integrated heating controls, so you can match your heating and hot water schedules to the working and living patterns in your home.

This means that when heat and hot water are required, they are available, and when they are not required, they are turned off.

Using the heating controls in your heat pump system will typically reduce your energy usage by up to 20%.

Grants of up to €3,500 are available to anyone with a home built before 2011 who installs a heat pump. More information is available from the SEAI website.

Other ways to conserve energy at home

Aside from the measures outlined above, there are other easy ways to conserve energy at home, check out our energy-saving tips to get started.

If you haven’t yet opted for a smart thermostat, these can really help you to better manage your home heating and heat your home more efficiently.

The SEAI also offers grants for updating your heating controls, which includes a 7-day timer and the ability to turn your heating on in zones.

If you’re interested in doing a bit more for the environment, we can help you find an energy supplier that offers 100% renewable energy.

Other ways to save on your energy bills

The quickest and easiest way to save on your energy bills is to switch to a new energy supplier.

It’s completely free, only takes a few minutes and you could save up to €771.

You could also see if you’re eligible for allowances like:

  • The Fuel Allowance, which is a means-tested payment to help pensioners and other low-income households with the cost of heating their homes during the winter months.
  • The Household Benefits Package, which is a package of allowances that aims to help consumers with the costs of running their home.

Switch and save up to €771 on your energy bills

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving